Quaero: French Search Or N.C. Firm?

    January 16, 2006
    WebProNews Staff

The much-discussed Quaero project, in development with French tech giant Thomson, adds Bertelsmann AG as the German project lead and partner in the venture; apparently neither of them bothered to do a whois lookup on the name first.

An alert WebProNews reader emailed to remind me the Quaero.com name has been registered by Quaero Corporation, an online marketing firm based in North Carolina. The .net and .org versions were registered by Benoit Lelong of Fontenay Sous Bois, France, and Vecsys-Research, also of France.

While the anti-American bent of French President Jacques Chirac’s comments about challenging Google and Yahoo in search was clearly calculated, the esteemed leader may have missed out on a fundamental Internet truism: dot-com is the desired ending for a domain name, period.

And Quaero Corp of Charlotte, NC, US of A, has that registered through 2007.

Bertelsmann and Thomson will develop a multimedia search engine, provided the informal agreement reported by MSNBC becomes formal and Bertelsmann, via its Empolis data processing subsidiary, signs on by the end of the week.

Quaero has ambitious plans for search. Its proponents envision it as enabling search for text, video, audio, and images. Quaero would be able to divine multimedia files through visual recognition and audio transcription technologies.

Tech companies in the US have been working to achieve a dominant place in those fields. Microsoft, the world’s biggest tech company, has sizable aspirations for speech recognition for its product line, including Exchange.

Though Chirac cited Google and Yahoo as the firms to catch, Microsoft could prove a touch competitor on the audio side of search technology.

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David Utter is a staff writer for WebProNews covering technology and business.